Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fela Finale

Three tidbits of Fela Kuti news, in increasing order of excitement:

1.) I've posted a few times on Knitting Factory's reissue of the Fela Kuti catalog, and as all good things must come to an end, so does the roll-out of remastered afrobeat. Next week comes the final batch of Fela Kuti albums: ten albums from the end of Kuti's outstanding career including Coffin For Head Of State (1979) / Unknown Soldier (1980), Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense (1986), Original Suffer Head (1981) / I.T.T. (1980), Live In Amsterdam (1984), Army Arrangement (1984), Beasts Of No Nation (1989) / O.D.O.O. (1990), and his final release, Underground System (1992). This music comes from Kuti's life when we was touring around the world, bringing his music and his country's problems to audiences everywhere.

2.) In addition to this final set of CDs, Knitting Factory is also putting out a vinyl box set curated by none other than ?uestlove of The Roots on February 1st. Supposedly, it's the first in a series, and will include six albums handpicked by ?uestlove including Everything Scatter, Expensive Shit, Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense, Beasts Of No Nation, Fear Not For Man, and Sorrow Tears And Blood. All artwork (both label and cover) will be an accurate replica of the originals.

3.) I've been yapping about catching the musical Fela! on Broadway for a while now, but have yet to put my money (and car) where my mouth is. Well, thanks to London's National's Olivier Theatre, I'm not going to have to drive into the Big Apple to see it, and neither do YOU! On January 13th (yes, this Thursday), the production will be filmed live and broadcast to 86 movie screen in the United States (as well as to nineteen other countries). And lucky for me, one of those 86 screens is practically right in my backyard and I'll be attending! To say I'm eager for Thursday night to roll around would be the understatement of 2011. I've been listening to the Original Broadway Cast Recording (which features Antibalas as the backing band) for quite some time now, and even though the British broadcast will have a different backing band, I'm positive that they'll be (almost) just as good. To see if it will be playing at a venue near you, visit the National Theatre Live website (for both American and international showings).

Without further adieu, here's a song from this latest batch as played by the Broadway cast:

Visit the albums' label Knitting Factory Records and the show's official website.

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